Thursday, December 23, 2010

building up the mouth

The next thing we do is build up the sides of the mouth with magic sculpt. Once it dries, I use a belt sander to make it flat on bothe sides. I slide it in the mouth cut out until I have a perfect fit.
Drill a hole through the jaw near the top of the rear of the jaw for your pivot bar.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

first things first

I wanted to start the pighead from Brayly which I did. Then I was bogged down with Christmas orders so he will have to wait. Here is where I am so far.

After cutting out the eye holes and the jaw, I wanted a more comical look. Since the pig heads eyes are set more to the side of his head, I had to build up the sides to make the eyes appear on the front of his face. I used a 2" wooden doll head for the eyes and built up around them with magic sculpt. His eyes will be comically protruding when he is finished. Obviously from the picures, I haven't started sanding anything yet. I want to finish all the sculpting before I start getting dusty.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making a Pig figure

Over the next few months I plan to make some figures from things I have purchased on the internet. The first is a Pig head from Braylu. I plan on making a full size comical pig figure.

The first thing I did was cut the eye holes and cut the jaw out.

When cutting the jaw, make sure you are as wide at the top as you are at the bottom otherwise the jaw will not move back and forth freely. If you make a mistake, you can always go back once you have the sides of the jaw completed and cut or build out the slot a little more.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

extreme ventriloquism?

I received an email from the learning channel asking me if I would be on their show extreme hobbies and show how ventriloquism takes part in my life and interview friends and family about it. Wow! what a great opportunity to present ventriloquism in a positive light.

I thought about it and realized there was a person better qualified than I was to present our hobby.

I called Dan Willinger and told him of the letter I received and I guess in my excitement, I didn't think it out. Thank you for grounding me Dan.

Most shows like this try to present the person or the hobby in a negative or manic light. In my exuberance, I forgot that no matter how you try to present things, it will always come out the way the interviewer wants it to. After working for a Newspaper for almost 20 years, I should have seen that myself

I love ventriloquism and figure making and want everyone to enjoy it as much as I do. Therefore, I wouldn't accept an invitation that might try to ridicule it . It is a passion, not an extreme. Those of us who are part of this community already know that. Those who would like to get involved, there are alot of us out there such as Dan and Steve from Ventriloquist Central

Clinton Detweiler, Bob Albano, Al Stevens and a host of others out there that would be happy to welcome you and give you any help you might want. Myself included of course!
Above are a couple of heads I sculpted. I will be sending them to Buzz at Braylu who if he likes them, will cast them and offer them for sale as kits. The jaw has been sculpted separately and will be offered with them of course.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Danny Countess

I have been emailing back and forth with Actor Danny Countess. He is not only an accomplished actor, (I especially liked him as Sgt.Admonte in Rose of Death) but he is also an accomplished ventriloquist and figure maker.

He completed "Cecil" a figure he had been working on and sent some pictures I would like to share with you. Danny and I have become friends over the past couple of years through emailing back and forth. Danny is meticulous in his figure making as well as his acting and it truly shows in his work on and off screen!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Still working

I am ashamed of myself for not posting over the last few months. The loss of my father has changed my life and I don't have the drive i once had. I hope in time that will change.

I have been busy with my new job abd have had precious little time to work on vent figures.

I have only been making stage figures for the past year and have not kept up with my conversions. I will have a group of them to sell for the holidays.

Here are some examples of the figures I have made over the last 6 months.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More look alikes

One of my favorite things to do is make caricatures of people or things. I have done a leg of ham, a talking bone,mouse, skunk,pig and of course all sorts of people. Patricia asked me to make a copy of ventriloquist dummy that she had an add for from the Orient. It was a little girl. Anime style. After scratching my head and locating this cute outfit and the perfect wig, This is what I came up with.

Friday, April 9, 2010


The last two months have been very difficult for my wife and i. We lost someone very close to our hearts. Our only solice is to know he is with his wife who he has mourned for since she passed in 2007.
I retreated to my shop. another place I find solice and take a break from the trials and tribulations of every day life. I will miss those nights in my shop with my Dad keeping me company. I pray he is at peace and hope he is still watching over us. We miss you very much Pop.
I was contacted by Diana Williams, a professional ventriloquist. She was looking for a unique look in a figure. She gave me a couple of pictures of different people to take features from and also pointed out a figure I had made for a ventriloquist in Canada. I blended the ideas and came up with this guy. He is hand sculpted from Magic Sculpt and is a 40 inch "professional" stage figure. Diana asked me never to make a copy of him. Thats one thing I have never done, because I still haven't tried my hand at making a mold. All my figures are sculpted, sanded and painted by hand. Here he is Diana. Thank you for choosing me to make your figure! I'm looking forward to seeing him on you tube. I have seen your work there, and you're great!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


"Pop" as he was lovingly referred to by my family and I, passed away last night at 8:20 pm.
My father, William Barry Jr., was a wonderful man. He taught me to speak up for myself, to believe in myself and my dreams, to be the best I can be in whatever I choose to do and to stay clear of negative people. Oh yes, his favorite saying "Never look back" meaning push on, learn from experience and don't dwell on mistakes."
My father worked full time all the way up to his illness. It gave him purpose and as he was loved and respected by both his peers and his employees at Bank of America.
He was a Korean war veteran in the "Sea Bees" who had four sons, myself and my three brothers.
He was our father, our coach in baseball, basketball and whatever other sports we decided to take up. He was our biggest fan and he loved us as much as we loved him.
He used to stop by on his way home from work and spend an hour in the shop with me while i worked on vent figures. He was the one who gave me the name "Gepetto" and used to say "Hello Gepetto! who are you making today?"
He was my father, my best friend, a wonderful grandfather and great grandfather but most of all he was a wonderful man. He is with his wife Elizabeth now, who he has grieved for since losing her two years ago. I know they are happy to be together again. Please join me in praying for him. "God, our father, please welcome him in to your kingdom with open arms. Forgive him for his mistakes through trials on earth and understand we are only human. Grant him the peace he deserves and keep watch over us so we may join him in heaven someday and be together again. Amen.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Been a long time

Hi everyone,

It's been a long time since I have written on my blog. My father is in the hospital very ill and we have been visiting him with any time we have. The vent building will have to wait.
I have promised to put certain things on my blog that I haven't. I will get to them.
I joined facebook and one of those other thingies. I can't remember which one. I have had alot of comments on my figures and I thank everyone who has good or bad. You get better with criticism. The only criticism I have a problem with is being call "you conversion guys"
I recently had a comment from Mike Palma who said you conversion guys should sculpt your own figures so you get full credit instead of partial. so I will reiterate again. I do this because i like to. I don't care about credit or recognition. I do what makes me happy. I appreciate your comment Mike, but please don't lump me in to a group. I am Steve Barry. I make ventriloquist dummies, both full size and conversion figures. I have made figures for comedians in the United states and abroad and I make them by request. I shut down my website because I had to turn work away and I don't like to do that. I work as often as I can when I am not working at CCC. (I work there because the dummy business can't afford me insurance) otherwise I would be in my shop day and night. Because I LOVE what I do.
There are many examples of full size figures I have sculpted by hand on my blog as well as conversion figures. I love to work on look a like figures and use the Juro dummies for an armature. If I put saran wrap or tin foil around the Juro head, I would be able to take the casting off, then would it be original? Actually, whats the difference? The sculpting is mine, the dummy underneath is an armature. so I do sculpt my own figures. Just had to get that off my chest. One of the reasons I don't like joining or going to organized events and clubs. I apparently don't fit the guide lines. I do what I want because I enjoy it and as long as my customers are happy, so am I. Here are a couple of look alikes I accept "partial credit" for.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Terry is finished!

I was contacted by an Australian ventriloquist and was asked to make something a little different than the usual pug nosed cheeky boy. I used the nose style that Bill Nelson has used on several of his figures.
I gave him a pronounced brow and a pointed chin but kept with the cheeky by smile. Here's what I came up with.
I used two sleeved bars for the strings to travel on instead of pulleys. I like this better because the strings can't come out of the track. They travel freely and can't tangle. It also gives them much more longevity.
I used sleeves and rods for the eye control and eyebrow control and levers for the mouth and blinkers only. Much more hand freedom this way.